The Castle of Mertola seen from N 122 while driving from the Algarve region

The Castle of Mertola seen from N 122 while driving from the Algarve region

A north-east side of the Castle of Mertola, seen from the Matriz Church

A north-east side of the Castle of Mertola, seen from the Matriz Church

A statue of Ibn Qasi (Abu-l-Qasim Ahmad ibn al-Husayn ibn Qasi) is situated outside the castle

A statue of Ibn Qasi (Abu-l-Qasim Ahmad ibn al-Husayn ibn Qasi) is situated outside the castle

Ibn Qasi was a local Muslim leader who resisted the advance of the Almoravid in this region

Ibn Qasi was a local Muslim leader who resisted the advance of the Almoravid in this region

He was governor of the Taifa of Mertola, later he was assassinated in Silves in 1151

He was governor of the Taifa of Mertola, later he was assassinated in Silves in 1151

On this plaque, beside his statue it shows the dates when he ruled Mertola

On this plaque, beside his statue it shows the dates when he ruled Mertola

A the bottom of the statue, it shows the name and date when this statue was erected

A the bottom of the statue, it shows the name and date when this statue was erected

Matriz church (a former mosque) seen from the statue of Ibn Qasi

Matriz church (a former mosque) seen from the statue of Ibn Qasi

Exterior of the Mertola Castle, this castle is classified as a National Monument

Exterior of the Mertola Castle, this castle is classified as a National Monument

This photo shows how this castle would have looked in the past

This photo shows how this castle would have looked in the past

Entrance of the Mertola Castle, during the Muslim period, main door had a beautiful arch

Entrance of the Mertola Castle, during the Muslim period, main door had a beautiful arch

Everything of the Muslim castle is lost but apart from few bases of the towers

Everything of the Muslim castle is lost but apart from few bases of the towers

A small path leading to the entrance of the castle

A small path leading to the entrance of the castle

The castle is located on the highest point of the town due to its military importance

The castle is located on the highest point of the town due to its military importance

A reconstruction was carried out by the knights of the Order of Saint James of the Sword after the town was taken by the Christians

A reconstruction was carried out by the knights of the Order of Saint James of the Sword after the town was taken by the Christians

During the roman period, this town was called Myrtilis and the Muslims changed its name to Martula

During the roman period, this town was called Myrtilis and the Muslims changed its name to Martula

In 1238, the castle was taken from the Moors by King Sancho II

In 1238, the castle was taken from the Moors by King Sancho II

Courtyard of the castle has a cistern which was used to store water

Courtyard of the castle has a cistern which was used to store water

Cistern of the Castle of Mertola is in the middle of the courtyard which is surrounded by four towers

Cistern of the Castle of Mertola is in the middle of the courtyard which is surrounded by four towers

Coat of Arms of Captain Antonio Rodrigues Bravo, he was the knight of Order of Santiago

Coat of Arms of Captain Antonio Rodrigues Bravo, he was the knight of Order of Santiago

Another Coat of Arms, it is believed that these items might had been displayed at the entrance of the castle

Another Coat of Arms, it is believed that these items might had been displayed at the entrance of the castle

Between 1240-1245 and 1316, this town became the seat of the Military Order of Santiago

Between 1240-1245 and 1316, this town became the seat of the Military Order of Santiago

Items found inside the courtyard of the castle - they belong to the Islamic period in Mertola

Items found inside the courtyard of the castle - they belong to the Islamic period in Mertola

During the 10th-11th centuries, this area was used as a living space

During the 10th-11th centuries, this area was used as a living space

In the early 12th century, this part of the town gained military importance and castle was used to serve its purpose as military use only

In the early 12th century, this part of the town gained military importance and castle was used to serve its purpose as military use only

From the Islamic period, drainage was system is found here along with many ceramic and glass objects

From the Islamic period, drainage was system is found here along with many ceramic and glass objects

From the castle walls, panoramic views of the surrounding areas are breathtaking

From the castle walls, panoramic views of the surrounding areas are breathtaking

This view is from the southern walls of the castle

This view is from the southern walls of the castle

The Order of Santiago owned the castle for about a hundred years

The Order of Santiago owned the castle for about a hundred years

Mertoal town sits in the middle of the Guadiana Valley Natural Park

Mertoal town sits in the middle of the Guadiana Valley Natural Park

A bridge above the Ribeira de Oeiras on N122

A bridge above the Ribeira de Oeiras on N122

The Castle of Mertola was connected to the medieval city walls

The Castle of Mertola was connected to the medieval city walls

This is the keep of the castle, located to the north

This is the keep of the castle, located to the north

The Carouche Tower, in the southwest, is a cubic 4.7 metres (15 ft) wide

The Carouche Tower, in the southwest, is a cubic 4.7 metres (15 ft) wide

A wonderful view of the Mertola town and the River Guadiana

A wonderful view of the Mertola town and the River Guadiana

Matriz Church, seen from the castle walls

Matriz Church, seen from the castle walls

Here, Mertola town spreads out, behind the Matriz Church

Here, Mertola town spreads out, behind the Matriz Church

A cistern lies in the foreground, while the Carouche Tower can be seen in the background

A cistern lies in the foreground, while the Carouche Tower can be seen in the background

Looking downwards (outside the castle) where once the Muslim neighbourhood flourished

Looking downwards (outside the castle) where once the Muslim neighbourhood flourished

Looking towards the western side of the town

Looking towards the western side of the town

Entrance of the Torre de Menagem, this tower (keep) is 30m tall and it has two floors

Entrance of the Torre de Menagem, this tower (keep) is 30m tall and it has two floors

The first floor of this keep displays historical exhibition while the second floor is dedicated to the Order of Santiago

The first floor of this keep displays historical exhibition while the second floor is dedicated to the Order of Santiago

These ceramic items are from the 10th-11th century Muslim period

These ceramic items are from the 10th-11th century Muslim period

Pots and a boiler alembic from the Islamic period in Mertola

Pots and a boiler alembic from the Islamic period in Mertola

Items displayed here, range from the 12th-18th centuries

Items displayed here, range from the 12th-18th centuries

The weapons hall is situated on the first floor, covered with cross-vaulted ceiling

The weapons hall is situated on the first floor, covered with cross-vaulted ceiling

A staircase leads to the second floor of the keep

A staircase leads to the second floor of the keep

Covered in a glass case, this section of the wall is from the medieval period

Covered in a glass case, this section of the wall is from the medieval period

A ross-vaulted ceiling of the weapon hall which is part of the Museum of Mertola

A ross-vaulted ceiling of the weapon hall which is part of the Museum of Mertola

Ceiling of the castle keep (Torre de Menagem)

Ceiling of the castle keep (Torre de Menagem)

A screen inside the second floor room shows the photos of Mertola

A screen inside the second floor room shows the photos of Mertola

This room has only few photos which refer to the Order of Santiago which was established in this castle

This room has only few photos which refer to the Order of Santiago which was established in this castle

One can climb the keep to the top, via wall stairs, which offers splendid views of the town

One can climb the keep to the top, via wall stairs, which offers splendid views of the town

Surrounding areas of Mertola and the Guadiana river valley which is also a nature reserve

Surrounding areas of Mertola and the Guadiana river valley which is also a nature reserve

Looking towards the south from the castle keep, the Carouche Tower and the castle walls can be seen

Looking towards the south from the castle keep, the Carouche Tower and the castle walls can be seen

Upper parts of the entrance gate which has double gates

Upper parts of the entrance gate which has double gates

Looking towards the north, the River Guadiana and a bridge above it, can be seen

Looking towards the north, the River Guadiana and a bridge above it, can be seen

Oeiras river passes to the south-west of the town of Mertola - this river is a tributary of the Guadiana river

Oeiras river passes to the south-west of the town of Mertola - this river is a tributary of the Guadiana river

Mertola village itself is also very picturesque and castle is the best place to enjoy the views

Mertola village itself is also very picturesque and castle is the best place to enjoy the views

One could come to Mertola by using this bridge over Ribeira de Oeiras river and go to the western side of the town

One could come to Mertola by using this bridge over Ribeira de Oeiras river and go to the western side of the town

The Traitors Gate (False Gate) is situated in the northwest wall of the fortifications

The Traitors Gate (False Gate) is situated in the northwest wall of the fortifications

Here, an old woman stands at the bottom of the stairs which lead to the first floor of the keep

Here, an old woman stands at the bottom of the stairs which lead to the first floor of the keep

Walls and towers of the Mertolal Castle seen above a house on Rua Elias Garcia

Walls and towers of the Mertolal Castle seen above a house on Rua Elias Garcia